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Disaster Recovery Plan
Safety Issues

Last update: Thursday, 10-Oct-2002 09:41:52 CDT

In almost any disaster situation, hazards and dangers can abound. While survival of the disaster itself can be a harrowing experience, further injury or death following the disaster stemming from carelessness or negligence is senseless.

All personnel must exercise extreme caution to ensure that physical injury or death is avoided while working in and around the disaster site itself. No one is to perform any hazardous tasks without first taking appropriate safety measures.

This document contains safety warnings in several places that recovery personnel should heed. These warnings are all marked with a special symbol:

Any time this symbol is displayed in this document, take the time to read through the warning thoroughly to understand what the hazards are and how to prevent injury.

Hazardous Materials

There are hazardous materials present in the Administrative Services Building. Three primary sources exist for these materials:

Approach any collection of a hazardous material with caution. Notify the nearest safety personnel in the event of a hazardous material spill. Unless you have had the necessary training to do so, do not attempt to clean up a hazardous material spill yourself. Allow the local HAZMAT team to evaluate, neutralize, and clean up any spills.

Stress Avoidance

Recovery from a disaster will be a very stressful time for all personnel involved. Each manager should be careful to monitor the working hours of his staff to avoid over-exertion and exhaustion that can occur under these conditions. A good approach is to divide your team members into shifts and rotate on a regular basis. This will keep team members fresh and also provide for needed time with family.

Refer to DRPDR014: Emotional Health Issues for Disaster Workers, an American Red Cross document that can help understand the stresses that disaster workers often shoulder.

PTSD - Post-traumatic Stress Disorder is a very real condition that can affect survivors and recovery workers in a disaster. All recovery managers and coordinators should be alert to symptoms in their employees that indicate PTSD and seek assistance from the necessary counseling services. Symptoms usually manifest themselves as:

The individual experiences flashbacks or nightmares where the traumatic event is re-experienced.
The individual tries to reduce exposure to people or things that might bring on their intrusive symptoms.
The individual exhibits physiologic signs of increased arousal, such as hyper vigilance or increased startle response.

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